Alternative shoulder rest

Edited: April 28, 2021, 11:35 AM · Has anyone experimented with shoulder rests that are attached to your shoulder rather than to your violin?
I suppose shoulder pads might be a better name for them.
Or are we just talking about putting hankies over your shoulder? (I haven't taken a look at any Perlman videos yet)

Replies (8)

April 28, 2021, 11:36 AM · someone:
May 2, 2021, 5:21 PM · Interestingly enough no-one is jumping in? Despite the strong stimulus word...

I use a small "custom made" (by myself using an ordinary kitchen knife) wedge shaped piece of foam from the hardware store. It took me a good dozen tries until I knew what I needed, though... When I put it under my shirt (no rubber bands!) it's fixed in place - not on the shoulder, but next to the collarbone on the higher part of the pectoralis major muscle. It allows for the freedom of playing restless, but adds that bit of stability I'm missing when playing in high positions, or when tuning. The attachement process is much faster, precise and more reliable than with a "real" SR, and should I ever again find myself in a situation of instrument testing, I'll not even have to lay down my bow when switching from one instrument to another. Due to its size (7x9 cm) and flexibility it will fit into any case, even a BAM Cabin Case if need be, and occupy less space there. No matter what comes there's no chance it might damage the varnish. It works for both, violin and viola, and will fit any viola without adjustment.

This is what works best for me, especially with my own "custom made" (homemade) CR model. After spending a fortune for one of the largest SR collections in Central Europe, I can stop further investigations and investments now. Cheap as dirt, and easily replaceable.

Feel free to use whatever works for you!

May 3, 2021, 1:51 PM · I'll jump in and say that I haven't used a shoulder rest for about 10 years, don't now own one, don't use a substitute (cloth or pad, etc), and feel perfectly comfortable without it.

Before WW2 SRs were unknown (or at least extremely rare), but after the War, they appeared on the scene as if by magic, and everyone "had" to have one. I think someone thought it was a good idea at the time, brought it to the attention of influential teachers and performers, and marketing forces took over. You only need teachers telling their young pupils they've got to have a shoulder rest (or they'll never be able to play properly), violin dealers likewise drawing your attention to a host of SRs when you buy a new violin for little Johnny or Matilda, and that's it.

I didn't take up the violin until I retired, and, not having been influenced by a violin teacher (however well-intentioned) when I was a child, I think I now have a clearer vision of add-ons in general, and whether they are absolutely necessary.

Edited: May 5, 2021, 1:44 AM · I am only interested in one thing - in this context - slippage.
So, making my shoulder non-slip is what I hanker after.
But even the damn sheet rubber has a habit of slipping off my shoulder.
Maybe I could try velcro - between shoulder and rubber, not on the violin, lol.

Those Fiddlerman gel pads look great, but they are unavailable in the UK except in 1mm thickness, which isn't thick enough unless I buy yet another chinrest.

May 5, 2021, 7:14 AM · Gordon, perhaps not helpful but I am using a Fiddlerman gel pad based on a recommendation from this site and it does work well. I also got it to avoid slippage, and it does that. Good luck!
May 5, 2021, 8:50 AM · I bookmarked a load of gel pads on Amazon this morning but I'm not going to buy anything without reading all the small print.
May 5, 2021, 5:14 PM · Gordon, have you tried to wash your damn sheet rubber with soap? It works for ping-pong rackets...

I also thought I needed some kind of anti-slippage device, until ergonomics fell into place. Have you tried a piece of soft chamois? The kind they sell for windows and car polish

May 5, 2021, 9:20 PM · "I am only interested in one thing - in this context - slippage.
So, making my shoulder non-slip is what I hanker after."


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